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MELISSA SWEET | April 17, 2014 | EVIDENCE-BASED ISSUES | |

An expert’s questions for the Australian Government on the “Scamiflu” saga

“Most experts would agree that the modest benefits of Tamiflu and Relenza, as reported by the review, do not justify the increased adverse risks, let alone the money spent on them…” So says an NHS Choices analysis of an important systematic review published recently by the BMJ and Cochrane Collaboration, whose findings raise billion dollar [...]

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MELISSA SWEET | April 16, 2014 | GLOBAL HEALTH | |

The real drivers of so much poor health – the inequitable distribution of power and resources

The implications of rising levels of inequality for the economy and indeed the future of capitalism are gaining plenty of attention thanks to the splash being created by a new book by economist Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  Piketty, professor at the Paris School of Economics, reportedly calls for a return to far [...]

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MELISSA SWEET | April 15, 2014 | DISABILITIES | 1 |

The NDIS must bring disruptive change without doing harm: mental health leader

Those responsible for implementing the NDIS should keep in mind the advice of a certain Roman emperor – “to make haste slowly”, says Frank Quinlan, the CEO of the Mental Health Council of Australia. *** The NDIS and Mental Health: Make change quickly – but don’t rush Frank Quinlan writes: Around 27 BC, Rome’s first [...]

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Warning, warning – these are weird times when zombies are attacking the health system

In a sign of the general level of weirdness surrounding recent health policy debates, the AMA is calling on the Government to “put an end to the crazy policy speculation being floated in the media”. So weird and worrying are the signs, in fact, that Dr Tim Senior is fearing zombie apocalypse. And yes, you [...]

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FRONJACKSONWEBB | April 14, 2014 | HEALTH REFORM | |

Hospital workforce reform: better jobs and more care

Peter Breadon writes: Employees are the public hospital system’s most valuable resource, and its biggest cost. Wages account for nearly 70% of recurrent hospital spending. To keep hospital care affordable in a time of rising demand, it’s vital that skills are used to the full. Yet many professionals work well below their skill level.

Does it take 15 years of post-school medical education to safely do a colonoscopy or give light sedation to a stable patient? Does it take a three-year nursing degree [...]

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FRONJACKSONWEBB | April 14, 2014 | FOOD | |

Fat free and 100% natural: seven food labelling tricks exposed

Sandra Jones writes: If you’re confused by food labels, you’re not alone. But don’t hold your breath for an at-a-glance food labelling system that tells you how much salt, fat and sugar each product contains. Australia’s proposed “health star rating” labelling scheme was put on hold in February, following pressure from the food industry. And it’s unclear whether the scheme will go ahead.

Marketers use a variety of tricks to make foods seem healthier and more appealing than their competitors, particularly when it comes to products aimed at children. One of the most powerful advertising tools a food manufacturer has is the packaging, as it’s what we look at immediately before deciding which food to purchase.

Next time you’re shopping for food, look out for these seven common labelling tricks: [...]

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MICHELLE HUGHES | April 10, 2014 | EVIDENCE-BASED ISSUES | 1 |

Tamiflu drug ‘largely ineffective’ in reducing hospitalisation: study

Many thanks to The Conversation for allowing us to republish this article by Reema Rattan.

Antiviral drugs are largely ineffective for reducing hospital admissions and complications from influenza, and come with serious side-effects, according to a research review published by the Cochrane Collaboration today.

The drugs were stockpiled by governments across the world, including Australia’s, in response to the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

Cochrane, along with the British Medical Journal, is asking governments to consider whether they would choose to stockpile well-known antiviral Tamiflu in light of these findings, arguing the original evidence leading to the stockpiling was incomplete.

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MICHELLE HUGHES | April 10, 2014 | PRIMARY HEALTH CARE | |

PHC Research Conference: an opportunity to expand your contribution to improve primary health care

Thanks to Amanda Carne from the Primary Health Care Research and Information Service for this reminder about the upcoming conference in July 2014. Networks are increasingly regarded as essential in permitting health research to influence practice and policy.  Yet there has been limited research on the role networking can play in researchers’ careers or the [...]

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MICHELLE HUGHES | April 10, 2014 | CLIMATE CHANGE | 1 |

Environment and health round up: The ticking clock, Palmer’s plans and a challenge to the medical fraternity.

According to an article in the SMH this week, the IPCC are preparing to release a report which will show that time is rapidly running out to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees. The report will discuss mechanisms of cutting carbon emissions including renewable energy sources and “clean” fossil fuels. The draft report apparently acknowledges that [...]

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MICHELLE HUGHES | April 09, 2014 | E-HEALTH | 1 |

Equity and parity of service provision is essential to transforming the lives of those with mental ill health

Professor Patrick McGorry, Executive Director, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre writes: Australia can be very proud of the substantial progress that has been made in recent years in bringing the subject of mental ill-health and mental illness from out of the shadows and into the mainstream of public discourse, however timely access to high quality mental [...]

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